How can you practise rangatiratanga (self-determination), if you can't take responsibility?

We expect a lot. We expect parents to take good care of their children, we expect the weather to be hot in summer, we expect the services we pay for (internet, power and other things) to match in value, and if we're lucky enough we expect the people in our lives to love and support us. Expectation is having a vision that something will manifest a certain way; and these expectations are largely shaped by our environment (whakapapa, conversations, media etc.). For instance, I expect that if we go out for a kai (feed), I won’t have to stare at the back of your phone because you value scrolling through social more than my company or the moment we have together. Side note, unless you’ve communicated you’re waiting on a call or text, or you have to send a message that can’t wait - put it away. Ka pai, e hoki mai. Sweet, back to it.

When the vision is clear in our mind, when the expectations are set in whatever capacity; there's often an emotional attachment to our desired outcome, which is bound by the laws of attracting something to us by thinking and feeling a certain way.

Surfers connect with Tangaroa rain, hail or shine. Hana Photography, Raglan 2017

But what about when life happens and things don’t go according to how you envision it to be? How do you react and conduct yourself when your vision of how something should unfold is suddenly threatened by unexpected or unforeseen circumstances? People die, we don't always get our way, things don't turn out the way we expect it to or sometimes it does and we don't like the result, we can only control ourselves - if ya haven't figured that out already, don't mention it (all good, you're welcome). So then, it should be easy to understand that no matter what the vision or the expectations are - we are responsible for how we navigate through the course.

Here's an example I'm sure you can relate to: I expect the world from people close to me, because I'd do whatever I can to give it back to them, tenfold. But now and then, the definition of 'world' varies from one person to the next, and it took me a while to understand that. However, my willingness to give isn't dependent on other people,

that's not exercising rangatiratanga (self-determination).

Tamanuiterā still shines, and Tangaroa still crashes his waves no matter what's happening. Hana Photography, Raglan 2017

Our behaviour or actions shouldn't be determined by the weather (eg. it's sunny - I'm gonna be happy); they shouldn't be determined by who's in government; they shouldn't be determined by whether things go our way or not* and they shouldn't be determined by how much money we have or don't have. We can practise and improve our rangatiratanga by determining for ourselves how to act in adversity, how to conduct ourselves appropriately for the situation and so on, based on our own set values and principles we choose to live by.

It's easy to own it and take the credit for when our vision comes to fruition perfectly and everything plays out, but we also need to take responsibility for when our vision doesn't quite turn out as we hoped. Mā tērā e rangatira ai tātou, only then can we become a self-determining people.

Nāku noa,



*99% of the time and through conscious and constant practice, still a lot of room to improve.